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When Dan was 10 years old, his family moved to a new house. There were not many children in his home area, so Dan spent most of his time with two elderly plantswomen, who were passionate about horticulture. He ended up with a weekend gardening job for one of the ladies and by the time he reached his early teens he was committed to gardening.
With a determination to succeed in horticulture, Dan decided to give up on his A-levels (backed by his parents) and applied for a traineeship at RHS Garden Wisley. At the time Wisley wouldn’t accept anyone with A-levels, as entrants had to be between 16 and 18 years old, but at the interview Dan produced a photograph album and planting plans of the garden he’d been building with his parents. Needless to say, Dan was accepted and started with nine others in September 1981.
After he finished the traineeship, Dan went to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for a year to work on the Rock Garden and the Woodland Garden. He then completed a three-year course at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. When he finished his education he started his own small business and has built it up from there.
Dan has now done five show gardens at RHS Chelsea Flower Show and employs eight people in his well-established garden design business. He feels that being at Wisley has given him an advantage over other garden and landscape designers because of the solid grounding in horticulture he received. Now the choices he makes are well informed - all because he was taught very thoroughly about how to garden.
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